PC Won E3 2012, And It Wasn’t Even Close
PC is Dying? Uh…
We wanted to give the PC a voice, so we interviewed some of the big names in PC gaming and asked them to respond to the long-standing claim that PC gaming is dying.
Alienware Product Marketing Manager Joe Olmsted believes that not only is PC gaming not dying, but that it’s healthier than ever. “PC gaming is the future,” he said.
“PC gaming took a hit when the last generation of consoles came out because of platform-exclusive titles like Halo, but it won’t take a significant hit when the next-gen consoles are released. Consoles are fading. Their distribution model is dying — more and more gamers are buying digitally. Even now, we’re debating whether or not to include an optical drive in our next units.”
League of Legends and World of Tanks are two PC-exclusive titles featured at E3 that have observed tremendous success, being both incredibly popular and lucrative — while adopting a free-to-play business model through digital distribution. World of Tanks has earned Wargaming.net millions of dollars to invest into World of Warplanes and World of Battleships, and League of Legends has been so successful on the eSports scene that its upcoming Season 2 Championship will have a $5 million prize pool.
NVIDIA’s Paul believes the PC platform offers too much for developers to ignore.
“Developers would be leaving too much on the table if they stopped developing for PC,” Paul said. “Skyrim has high-definition mods. Arkham City on PC makes use of DirectX 11. Developers recognize what the PC has to offer; Battlefield 3 was designed for PC, then ported to console.”
Alvin Chua, Razer product marketing specialist, said the PC can’t die by virtue of it being the source of new ideas in the gaming industry.
“The PC is where the innovation is,” Chua said. “Online gaming, MMOs, digital distribution… the PC has always paved the way. It’s the leading edge.”
Gaming peripherals manufacturer ROCCAT showcased their Power-Grid at E3, an app that seeks to turn your smartphone into a peripheral. Should it catch on, it’s poised to revolutionize PC gaming — just one example of innovation at this year’s E3.
Behind the Scenes and On the Edge
The big console makers had something of a lackluster showing at E3 this year, and that’s really the reason that forces us to realize that the PC isn’t just the past for gaming, but its future as well. There wasn’t much excitement around Microsoft plugging Kinect titles and integration with ESPN, Nintendo showing off new tablet controller designs, and Sony rolling out a God of War title that looks a little dated. There was very in the way of new technology to see from any of the forces on the console side of the industry.
PC as a platform might not get all the attention it deserves in a world with three major consoles, but it’s obvious that if you’re wondering “what’s next” in gaming, you need to look to the PC. There are definitely segments of the developing and publishing communities that are taking greater note of that, as well — Electronic Arts launched its Origin digital distribution platform for PC last year, in essence to take on Valve’s Steam with EA titles. There’s clearly a big market there, large enough that EA isn’t willing to leave money on the table by giving Valve a cut of its digital distribution when it could sell you its PC titles direct.
In fact, if there’s one thing that E3 2012 taught us, it’s that debating whether PC gaming is on the decline is a useless exercise. Even though developers would rather keep the rigs running their demos behind closed doors, the clear fact of the matter is that the next year is going to focus on PC while Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo figure out just what they’re doing with the next console generation. While console players are waiting for their tired hardware to get updated, the next generation is already showing up on PCs.